Playing with stitches


I’ve been having a lot of fun sewing all kinds of pretty, one-of-a-kind items for my daughter who just turned six months on Monday.

For years I’ve been sewing dresses and quilts for my nieces and now I get to sew all these adorable custom items for my own child.

Clothes, such as pants, tops and dresses, have been at the top of my list of things to make. And I’ve also sewn a few blankets, spit up cloths and bibs. I’m sure if we were brave enough to venture into cloth diapers, I would have sewn a few of those as well!

Recently we started venturing into the realm of baby wearing – which is where you wear your baby close to you in a carrier or sling.  Elliana and I have struggled with this a bit but I think we have finally found our groove. After trying a number of different carriers, we have discovered that ring slings are our favourite.

This carrier is typically a long strip of fabric – usually cotton, linen or a woven fabric – that is approximately 30 inches by 2 meters or more. Two rings at one end work to secure your fabric. Now that I’ve discovered these ring sling carriers, I’ve also discovered all the beautiful fabrics you can use to customize them. (Hello rabbit hole!! LOL!)


Most recently I made one out of dupioni silk. The beauty of working with a fabric such as silk is it breathes well in our warm, humid summer, which we will hopefully eventually get to experience here in Winnipeg. And it is surprisingly easy to care for – ring slings are easy to hand wash and hang to dry (and of course, this silk dries quickly).

I’ve been having fun incorporating some of the beautiful stitches that are so abundant on my Janome Skyline S7 into my ring slings. Typically it’s helpful to distinguish one side of the sling to the other so you know you’re pulling the correct side (i.e. top or bottom of the carrier) when you are tightening it, so I like to use a fancier stitch than just a straight stitch to take my personalized ring sling it up a notch and let me know which side of my carrier is the top.


Where the rings on the carrier sit, you need to ensure you have a good, sturdy stitch. You can make sure it’s secure by sewing across where the fabric meets several times with a straight stitch. But why not use some of those lovely decorative stitches available on the Janome Skyline S7? I picked out one that was nice and wide and gives that part of my carrier a secure but pretty finish.


I think Elliana approves of her new carrier. I can’t wait to use this during the warmer days of summer, or maybe for a fancier event.

DYK the Janome Skyline S7 has 240 built in stitches? If you had to guess, how many stitches have you used on your sewing machine?

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Janome surface design: embroidery + piecing = very neat projects

Here’s a really neat way to combine your love of machine embroidery with your passion for piecing/quilting. Miriam Coffey is one of our Janome America Educators and is a presenter/contributor on Fresh Quilting.  Check out this video in which she explains how to use your embroidery machine to stitch surface design on fabric and then chop it up to piece together for quilting projects.  I think you are going to like this as much as I did. I saw the samples at Sewexpo in Puyallup, WA in March and you will see them on this video as well as learn how you too can accomplish this easily and creatively with your Janome Embroidery machine!


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Do you love your iPad?

I will tell you a secret………I wanted an iPad for the longest time before I finally got one. I hesitated for a long time as I was not sure if I needed both a PC and an iPad. (well that is what hubby suggested anyway). Was I (or he?) ever wrong!  Now I seriously wish I could do away with my laptops (both work + personal home PC’s) for good……that’s how much I love my iPad!

Did I already say I seriously LOVE my iPad?  Not only can I watch online sewing/quilting video’s or Netflix in my hotel room at night when I am traveling, but I can also check emails without having a big, hot laptop on my ……lap.  In addition, I can read my books without having to drag heavy books along with me taking up precious space and pounds in my suitcase.

But let’s not forget that we have JANOME APPS on the iPad! Janome has a number of APP’s especially for those of us who love our iPads + love having the ability to do some very cool things SEW easily!

AcuEdit app showing opening screen with the word hello added……now time to have some fun and easy mobile editing!

  1. AcuEdit app (above) allows us to customize our embroidery designs on the iPad  with a FREE app in a very similar way to how we can do it on the screen of our Janome Embroidery machine or on our PC using the applicable editing tool included with our Janome embroidery machines.  Change thread colours, duplicate designs, corner them, resize, flip, rotate, …you name it. AcuEdit is FREE and is compatible with our WIFI enabled embroidery machine models: Janome Horizon MC15000 (all 3 versions) as well as Janome Skyline S9

AcuMonitor app showing the progression of our elephant stitch out >> we are currently seeing 5,423 stitches done of the total of 11,974. Go cook, watch TV….no need to babysit your MC15000 or Skyline S9!

2. AcuMonitor  (above) is kind of like a baby monitor for your embroidery machine: need to go cook dinner? (yes…..I know sadly it does not cook itself yet!) or maybe you want to go watch TV in the family room? Instead of having to babysit your machine while you get on with other things, take your iPad with you and prop it up on the kitchen counter or armchair and occasionally glance at it: it will show the simulated stitch out currently taking place in the hoop of your embroidery machine in the other room.  If a thread breaks or a colour completes stitching and you are needed to thread up with the next colour, the App alerts you to this fact. Is that clever or what?? Man alive, I love this AcuMonitor APP. Cannot tell you how many times it has saved me time and effort from having to jump up & down like a jack-in-a-box to go check on the progress of my embroidery at my machine. It really is a fantastic tool which also happens to be FREE.

AcuSetter – using the camera on the ipad + this App to perfectly position your designs in the hoop….very slick clever!

3. Acusetter APP (above) is also worth a LOT to us – even though it is another FREE app. It lets us use the camera in the Ipad to reposition designs within the hoop without having to re-hoop (say we maybe hooped up a little crookedly?) OR to position designs EXACTLY  where we want them in a particular hooping. Think positioning a name tag or a company logo exactly where you want it above a shirt pocket? Or what about positioning a flower in the perfect spot on a printed fabric? Or lining up an elephant on an incline like a hill? This is all effortless and oh so easily possible with AcuSetter App.

Using this together with the Janome Clothsetter (as your 3rd hand for hooping), we have a team of tools which will give us immaculately perfect positioning of all our embroidery projects. Has to be seen to be believed…………… so ask your Janome Educator or local authorized Janome dealer to show you how it works. This App is compatible with Janome MC15000 and Janome Skyline S9.

AcuSketch app – the fun continues!!

4. AcuSketch. Now this app (above) is also FREE although we just got an in-App optional purchase of additional stitches. I am very crazy about this app. I have done all sorts of scribbles and doodles, taken pics with my iPad of interesting looking carpets, people, drawings my grand children made for me……and then just used these pics as a backdrop to scribble with my finger or the special Janome Stylus pen to create incredible designs to stitch at the embroidery machine. Up till last month, we could digitize instantly straight stitches – so IDEAL for quilting designs and thread sketching. Now we have the additional in-app purchase offering zig-zag, stem and triple straight stitch as well. I cannot tell you how much fun I have had with this app and it gives me a simply wonderful option for creating quilting-in-the-hoop simply by doodling squiggles and swirls on the iPad screen , instantly turning it to stitches and sending – just as instantly – directly to my embroidery machine as it by magic (WIFI).

Janome Screensaver App

5. The other free app is the screen saver app  (above) which lets you add your own pic’s from your iPad camera or Gallery  – you can save up to 5 pics at a time.

We have covered the 5 FREE Janome apps in this post. There is also the purchasable Janome AcuDesign App which is covered in other janomelife posts and at this link.

Janome does indeed think of everything! 

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New 1/4″ seam foot for the Janome MC9400

Janome artisan

If you’ve been reading my blogposts on the Accessory Upgrade Kit for the Janome MC9400 and the feet that are included in that kit, you’ll realize that this blogpost must be about the 4th & final foot in the upgrade package. If you aren’t familiar with the Accessory Upgrade Kit and what is included in it, click here.

Janome 9400 Upgrade Kit box

While I’ve saved this foot for the last blogpost, it doesn’t mean that it is the least of the new feet for the Janome MC9400. In fact, for quilters, this is one of the most useful feet that you can have for your machine. This new foot is the O foot or the ¼” seam foot without guide. This 1/4 foot without flange or guide is also available in the Quilting Upgrade kit for MC15000 and as a separate blister pack purchase. Please ask your local Janome dealer for more information.

Janome 9400 O foot

If you’re a quilter, you know how important stitching a perfect ¼” seam is. If you don’t get the seam correct, it’s difficult for your blocks to fit together and for your quilt to come out the way you hope it will. We are always looking for a foot that will help us get that perfect ¼” seam and the new O foot will help you do that on your Janome MC9400.

You might notice that you already have an O foot in your Janome MC9400 accessory storage box.  There is, however, a significant difference between that foot and the new O foot: the new O foot doesn’t have a guide on it. The guide – that black metal piece that is on the right side of the foot – has now been removed. When using this original O foot, you would line this guide up along the outside edge of your fabric when stitching a ¼” seam. While some quilters love using this foot, I sometimes found that the guide would catch on threads or seams and cause problems when I was stitching. You won’t have this problem with the new O foot as the black metal guide has been removed.

Janome O feet comparison

I view the removal of the guide as an alternative on the O foot. There are some other changes that have been made that I find helpful too. There are now more markings on the foot. One of these is a raised metal piece that is ¼” away from the needle drop position. How is this helpful? You will be able to run this guide along a previously stitched seam and make a new stitching line¼” away from it.

Janome O foot with pointer

There are also three more ¼” markings on the left side of the foot that are¼”, 1/2″ and 3/4″ away from the front of the foot. These can be used in different situations, such as when you are at a corner and want to stop ¼” away from it to turn your fabric.

If you’ve found your original O foot on your Janome MC9400 helpful, but wish that it didn’t have the metal guide on it, you’ll appreciate the new O ¼” seam foot without guide and will find the additional markings on the foot very helpful.

For more information about the O foot and how it will help you with your ¼” seam, visit my blog.

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, AB.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Please note that this 1/4 inch foot without flange is available as a separate item from your local authorized Janome dealer. If you have a Janome sewing/embroidery machine which has 9mm wide stitches, then this foot is compatible with your model.  You may ask your Janome dealer for this foot as an individual item.  Part # is: 202313001

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Sitting On Pins and Needles?

No matter what the skill level or what project is being created….. be it garments, or quilts, or craft projects; I think it’s safe to say that the humble little straight pin is one of those timeless universal notions which makes life easier for us all. According to Webster’s, a “notion” is a small useful item, and what’s more useful than a pin?

Recently, I had the immense pleasure of attending a very fun retreat where I could literally work the room to see what everyone was working on. One of the things I noticed was how everyone organized their notions at their work space, and specifically how they kept their pins. Some had the good old standard tomato pin cushion, while others, like myself, just kept them in the box in which they were sold. However, some were a little more creative.

Adorable is all I can say about this little pin cushion below.


Many discounts stores sell these little clay pots above, or you might even have a few laying out in your garden shed or down in the basement. A little paint and scraps of batting to stuff the centre and you’ve got a unique and adorable pin cushion which doesn’t take up much space and which is perfect for a class or retreat.

I thought the pin cushion below was brilliant!


This ultra-adorable pin cushion may look familiar to some of you. It’s the Janome pin cushion which comes with some of our machines, like the Janome M series  machines, which are ideal to take to class or retreats.( M50, 100 or 200).See the source image

and its also available as a separate accessory. Contact your local Janome dealer for more information. See the source image

Since there wasn’t a notch on her sewing machine for the pin cushion, this clever lady drilled a hole in a small block of wood and used some Velcro she had on hand (which is why there’s only a half circle of Velcro on the machine itself. She explained to me that’s all she had so she used it! ) So cute and SEW practical!



Speaking of travel machines: machines which are lighter in weight, smaller and easier for most of us to take to class, retreats, the cottage, etc., the special edition Canada 150 model designed by Montreal’s Tamara Kate flew out of Janome’s warehouse last summer so expect to see them in your travels. I was told by one of the ladies at the retreat that she keeps her Janome Canada 150 model in her home in Florida so she always feels a little closer to home while she escapes the winter cold. Notice that cute little pin cushion sitting proudly atop the machine. It came as a standard included item with this model!


The Janome Jem Gold has got to be one of the most popular travel machines ever, though many users tell me it’s their primary machine as well.  It’s the ONLY sewing machine they own and they’re thrilled to bits with it!


I thought this owner’s suction-cup pin cushion was cleaver. I had not seen one like that before so I’m on the hunt to find one. That’s the wonderful part of attending classes and retreats, you learn so much and get inspired by others.

The retreat was put on by our fabulous Janome Dealer, Shirley Eichler of The Ultimate Sewing Centre in Oshawa, Ontario and superbly organized by her equally fabulous and talented tour-de-force/ right-hand gal, Donna.
Elim Lodge in Buckhorn, Ontario was an ideal setting and GREAT news! They’ve already started organizing another retreat for next year so contact the staff at The Ultimate Sewing Centre for more information. I hope I’ll be invited back to participate in all the fun, too!


I was happy to see that Donna had a few moments to herself here and there to try to get some of her own sewing done. She created a huge stack of flying geese blocks so looks like that ultra-convenient wrist pin cushion came in very handy. It’s oh so cute and stylish, just like Donna herself.


How do YOU keep your pins and sewing notions organized? Write us with suggestions and tips so we can share, learn and get inspired by one another. Happy sewing!

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New QZ Variable Zigzag foot for the Janome MC9400 and MC15000

Janome artisanIf you like to do thread painting, you’ll love the new QZ Variable Zigzag foot that is included in the Accessory Upgrade kit for the Janome MC9400. For information on the Accessory Upgrade Kit, please click here. This foot is also available in the Quilting Upgrade kit for the Janome Mc15000 as well as in a separate blister pack – available at your local authorized Janome dealer.  The  Variable zig-zag function is available on selected Janome machine models.

Janome 9400 Upgrade Kit boxThe Variable Zigzag foot or QZ foot is an open-toe foot, giving you clear visibility as you stitch along. Using the QZ foot, you can create zigzag stitches up to to 9 mm in width and, using the knee lifter, you are able to vary the width of these stitches. (The sensitivity of the stitch width to knee lifter can be adjusted in the Settings menu).

Janome 9400 variable zigzag foot

Variable zigzag stitching with the Janome MC9400 is not new: the QV foot included with your Janome MC9400 was used for variable zigzag stitching and while it can still be used for this purpose, I can see the advantages of the QZ foot. The QV foot is perfect for free motion quilting around appliqués as it is curved upwards so it won’t catch on appliqué edges. It is also useful for echo quilting as it has red lines on it that you can use for this purpose. The QZ foot is an open-toe foot and gives good visibility.

Janome QV foot

To start zigzagging with the QZ foot, click on the Sewing Application icon (the t-shirt icon) and choose “Quilting”. While the VZZ (variable zigzag) screen is still in this area, after you’ve upgraded your Janome MC9400, you’ll notice that it has changed slightly to include “RW” or Ruler Work. Options in the screen for variable zigzag stitching remain the same.

The QZ foot fits onto the presser foot holder, like most of the feet included with the Janome MC9400.   Unlike some of the other feet, the QZ foot has two metal bars on it that you must snap onto the presser foot holder. This is similar to attaching the QC and QO feet. For more information on these feet and how to attach them, click here.

QZ foot

Once the QZ foot is attached to the Janome MC9400, you can start creating zigzag stitches of varying widths. The knee lifter is an integral part of this technique. While it raises and lowers the presser foot when you are not stitching, it will now vary the width of your stitches while you are sewing.  Please be sure to fully insert the knee lifter into the slot on the front of the machine. The Janome MC9400 will stitch in a straight line until you start to move the knee lifter whereupon it starts to create a zigzag stitch. It can be a bit mind boggling at first, but you’ll soon get used to how this all works together.

Janome knee lifter

It can take some practice to get used to this technique as there are three things to consider: the speed of the machine (use the speed control to help you with this); how fast you move the quilt or thread painting project under the machine needle; and how far in or out you move the knee lifter, which controls the width of the zigzag stitches. Sort of like rubbing your tummy and patting your head while walking!

While the QZ foot is the foot to use for thread painting, consider using it and the variable zigzag stitch for adding unique embellishments to quilts and garments. Be sure to use fabric stabilizer underneath your fabric to support satin stitches if you are creating those with the QZ foot. This will avoid distorting or puckering your fabric as you stitch along.

For more information about the QZ foot and how it creates variable zigzag stitches, visit my blog.

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, AB.

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Beautiful Boronia Bowler bag with Sherri

I met with Sherri (one of our Janome Canada Artisans) from Thread Ridinghood while I was in Toronto for the Spring Creativ Festival. Thanks, Sherri, for braving that nasty ice storm to keep our meeting date! 

Sherri had THE most delightful purse on her arm – as pictured above. I complimented her and, as suspected, she had made it! I asked if we could share it with you. So, here goes, this is the link to further details about this charming purse: The Boronia Bowler. Do take note of the perfect workmanship and detailing that we have come to know and love as Sherri’s “signature”. ENJOY!!

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JANOME ACUFEED FLEX……what exactly is this and why do I need it?


The AcuFeed Flex foot, which works with the SFS (Superior Feed System) upper feed system of a number of Janome sewing machine models, is the ideal foot for joining seams without shifting happening. For this little piece, I prefer to use the narrow AcuFeed Flex foot with the VD sole. This narrow foot has one upper feeddog. For the purpose of the photo, I shifted the sides to show the perfect alignment of the stripes. Sometimes the standard AcuFeed Flex system is just a bit too big for finer work. With this one, you can enjoy all the AcuFeed benefits!


This foot is used for assembly and also for top-stitching with a straight stitch or a decorative stitch. It is easy to use the  width of the foot  as a guide when it runs along the edge of the fabric.

neck stitching


This plain sweater is certainly bland and can be jazzed up with the insertion of the dickie and wrist bands.


And now, the sweater is really looking sharp!

Visit the authorized Janome dealer in your area to attend a AcuFeed Flex demonstration!

Written by Celine Ross, translated by Yvonne Menear


Posted in AcuFeed Flex , Feet & attachments Janome , optional Feet , Decorative stitches , Utility Stitches , AcuFeed supply system 1 comment
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Quilt Canada 2018 Quilted Postcard Challenge

Janome artisan

Have you ever made a fabric postcard? I hadn’t, but when I found out that there was going to be a quilted postcard challenge at Quilt Canada in Vancouver, B.C., where Janome Canada will be one of the sponsors, I thought that it was time to try. How hard could it be? I was about to find out…

The theme of the postcard challenge was “Inspired by Nature” so that meant that there were lots of design opportunities. Rather than creating a complicated design, as is typical for me, I decided to keep it simple. That usually works out best, doesn’t it?

I knew that my Janome MC9400 with its hundreds of stitches would be up to the challenge of making my design come to life, once I had settled on my “simple” design. I knew that my design was going to be appliqué (my favourite technique) and I decided to use some of the decorative stitches on the Janome MC9400 to finish the edges of my appliqué pieces.

Postcard fabrics

Some of the fabrics I considered for the fabric postcard – the light batik background is on top.

I chose a light batik for the background of my postcard scene and added some stabilizer behind it to ensure that my decorative stitches would look their best (read my blogpost about why this is so important to a good finish). Since I live in Calgary, Alberta, the mountains are an ever-present backdrop and I had to include them in my postcard. After gluing my mountains to the background fabric, I used two lines of straight stitching to accent the mountain peaks: one of which I adjusted to be a longer length than the other to give visual interest.

Postcard green stitched

Mountains, foothills and prairies all down and partially stitched

I needed some landscape elements in front of the mountains, so I cut out foothills and prairies from two colours of green fabric. All of these appliqués were stitched down using decorative stitches on the Janome MC9400. I used the Heirloom 22 stitch (H22) on the first green fabric and the Decorative 29 stitch (D29) for the second green fabric.

Now it was time to place the focal elements: two wild roses, Alberta’s provincial flower. I added these in front of the background elements and decided which stitches I would use to accent them. I used the Quilt 5 stitch(Q5) for the back rose and the Decorative 5 stitch (D5) for the front rose.

Postcard Flower 2 stitched

All appliqué elements stitched down, just waiting for the edge finishing.

When it came to the flower centres, they were quite small so I thought a decorative stitch would be lost on them. I decided to accent them with some free motion thread play. (To learn about setting up for free motion quilting on the Janome MC9400, click here.)

Once all of the design elements were stitched to the background fabric, I still had to add a backing and, since I wanted the postcard to be firm, I added a stiff interfacing in the middle. Once these three layers were sandwiched together, I need to bind the edges, so I chose a satin stitch for this edge technique (and save me from doing binding!).

Postcard and threads

The variety of threads used in the postcard

Wow, did the Janome MC9400 perform well for this application! I used the Utility 8 (U8) stitch and shortened both the length and the width – a lot! I made one pass around all edges of the postcard and then did a second stitching over the initial one, increasing the stitch width just a bit. The result was a smooth, even satin stitched edge.

So how would I rate my first postcard creation? Well, if you’re at Quilt Canada in Vancouver in a few weeks, you can let me know what you think. The whole process gave me a chance to try creating a design on a small canvas and the end result will help support the B.C. Children’s Hospital. A win all around!

Postcard finished

Completed postcard

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, AB.

FOOTNOTE: While the 1st May deadline for entering these postcards to be judged has passed, CQA will nonetheless still be very happy to accept your fabric postcards. These will be displayed at Quilt Canada 2018 in Vancouver later this month (31st May – 2 June). The postcards are being “sold” by donation and all these donations will go towards BC Children’s Hospital. So do have  ago at making one or more postcards – not that hard and you have Kim’s easy How-to here to help you!

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While doing a demo at  a local sewing show, I was using the Janome Memory Craft 500E embroidery only machine.  This is a wonderful embroidery machine that can create designs in all sizes of hoops from small to extra large.  The largest hoop for the Janome MC 500E machine is almost as large as the GR hoop for the Janome Horizon MC15000 machine.  This is a great alternative to people who go to retreats and want to embroider while away from home.  The Janome MC 500E is smaller and weighs considerably less and is therefore more portable.

MC500E-Flower Emb-SM


Janome Canada is a sponsor of the Canadian Quilter’s Association National Quilt Canada Show.  One of the many events that will take place this year at the show is a Postcard Challenge which is a fundraiser for support of the B.C. Children’s Hospital.  The event is sponsored by Cindy’s Threadworks.  Since I was at a show doing demo’s on the Janome Memory Craft 500E machine,  I decided to create Postcards in the embroidery hoop as my demo and then donated them to the Postcard challenge.  The challenge is to create nature based designs on postcards.  I let my nature fabrics be my focal point of my postcards to donate to this worthy cause.

I needed a postcard stitch file to create the postcard designs for the CQA show.  This was easily created in my Artistic Digtizer software program.  I simply used the shape tool to create a rectangle that was 4 x 6 inches in size.  I created four copies of the shape–3 were a running stitch outline and 1 was a satin stitch outline to finish the edge of my postcard.

artistic digitizer

Here is how I embroidered the design step by step-

  1.  Hoop tearaway stabilizer only in the hoop and stitch the first running stitch outline.  This is my placement line.  Remove the hoop from the machine
  2.   Using stabilizer (like Timtex/Peltex or something similar pre-cut into 4 x 6 inches) place it into the outline stitched and secure it in place with a glue stick or spray adhesive.  Now cover the stabilizer with a piece of fabric at least 5 x 7 inches in size to completely cover the stabilizer.  Return the hoop to the machine.
  3.  Stitch the next outline stitch.  This will adhere your top fabric and postcard stabilizer to the tearaway stabilizer.  Remove the hoop from the machine.
  4. Place another piece of fabric at least 5 x 7 inches onto the back of the hoop with a glue stitck or adhesive spray making sure you have covered the previous stitch outlines.  Return the hoop to the machine making sure your backing fabric does not move or fold over when placing the hoop onto the machine.
  5. Stitch the next line of stitches.  This will adhere the backing fabric to the post card.  Remove the hoop from the machine.  Trim away the excess fabric from both the front and the back of the design.
  6.  Return the hoop with the trimmed fabrics back onto the machine.  Stitch the final satin stitch to finish off the edges of the post card perfectly.  Remove the design from the tear away stabilizer.
  7. Write a note on the back of the postcard for the person who will be receiving it with a permanent pen.

There are many variations to making this postcard design. Use your imagination and add machine embroidery or decorative beading to the front of your card for extra embellishment.


From left: Karen – CQA Regionnal Rep; Liz – Janome & Elna National Education Manager; Cindy from Cindy’s Threadworks, and Yvonne – Janome Educator and postcard digitizer & maker!






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